Learning from losing
Chris Bowers appropriately rakes over the coals the establishment Dems who think the netroots are arrogant because they don't know what it is like to lose and therefore haven't learned the pragmatic lessons that losing can teach you. The assertion is laughable on its face:
The netroots were basically formed out of a long series of losses by progressives: the Clinton impeachment (MoveOn.org), the 2000 Florida recount (Talking Points Memo, the first major progressive blog), the conservative exploitation of the charged atmosphere following 9/11 (I know that was the case for me), the war in Iraq (the rise of Dailykos and of Howard Dean's campaign), Howard Dean's campaign (DFA and a huge percentage of the netroots and new internet consultants, not to mention the Silent Revolution). Losses have consistently built and solidified the netroots. Progressives getting slaughtered while conservatives get away with murder are what formed this movement. The entire reason why the progressive netroots are so much more popular and powerful than the right-wing netroots are because we are lacking in useful alternative avenues to express ourselves and find representation within the broader political ecosystem. The netroots is born from progressive defeat, which perhaps somewhat explains why we stopped growing in September 2005--the exact moment when approval ratings for Bush and Republicans once and for all feel through the floor. I have said it before, and I will say it again: if "leaders" of the Democratic Party and progressive movement do not like the rise of the progressive netroots, the number one way to stymie its growth is to start winning campaigns. We wouldn't be so pissed off, active, and into "do-it-yourself" mode if we were winning. The netroots know what losing is like, and we have had enough of it.
The difference between the establishment Dems and the netroots is not their experience with losing but what they have done with that experience.
The establishment Dems have adopted a finessed strategy of avoiding conflict in order to please a mythical middle, the middle that is waiting for the great uniter to speak to them, in order to win it over into its 50%+1 coalition.
The netroots have adopted a strategy of changing the dialog in order to persuade the true middle, the middle that doesn't really think that much about politics nor does it want to, that what we have to sell is better than what the other guy has to sell, in order to win it over into our 60%+1 coalition.